Canadian housing starts trend lower in May
By Adam FreillConstruction Residential
Standalone May SAAR of starts rose by eight per cent, but six-month moving average still dipped.
The trend in housing starts came in at 254,727 units in May, down from an April figure of 257,833 units, reports Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.
“On a trend and monthly SAAR basis, the level of housing starts activity in Canada is historically high, staying well above 200,000 units since 2020 and despite the lower trend, the monthly SAAR was higher from April to May,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “The increase in monthly SAAR housing starts in Canada’s urban areas was driven by higher multi-unit starts in May. Among Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, Vancouver was the only market to post a decrease in total SAAR starts, which was driven by lower multi-unit and single-detached starts.”
CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a clearer picture of upcoming new housing supply. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as the multi-unit segment largely drives the market and can vary significantly from one month to the next.
The standalone monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada in May was 287,257 units, an increase of eight per cent from April. The SAAR of total urban starts increased by eight per cent to 264,162 units in May. Multi-unit urban starts increased by 13 per cent, to 201,193 units, while single-detached urban starts were off by four per cent, at 62,969 units.
Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 23,095 units.